In 1771, inventor Richard Arkwright arrived in a small Derbyshire lead mining village, looking for somewhere to build his pioneering cotton mill. The mill he built in Cromford was the very first of its kind, and was where the basics of modern factory working were developed. Thanks to Arkwright’s pioneering work in Cromford, this once sleepy village has been called the true birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. Widely copied by others, Cromford became the pattern for early mill and factory communities all across Europe and even North America.
This walking tour explores the history of Cromford, from the old medieval village to the modern day. Along the way, it looks at how the villagers lived before Arkwright arrived in the area, why Arkwright chose the village despite it being well away from the main market for his products, how the arrival of the mill changed the lives of the villagers, and much more.
Relatively untouched by modern developments, Cromford is a fine example of an early mill village, and now forms the main attraction in the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site. This tour is ideal for anyone interested in early industrial history, and finishes at the gates of the preserved Cromford Mill, where it is possible to take a tour of the mill with the guides of the Arkwright Society, who now own and maintain the site.
Normally taking place in the morning, for a small additional fee this tour can also be combined with a 5.5 mile afternoon walk along the surviving section of the Cromford Canal, which linked Cromford with the industrial and port cities of Liverpool and Manchester.